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Kancera buys CRO iNovacia

By Gareth Macdonald , 21-Feb-2011
Last updated on 21-Feb-2011 at 12:29 GMT

Sweden-based cancer drug specialist Kancera has bought Stockholm-headquartered discovery and development services provider iNovacia.

Contract research organization (CRO) iNovacia employs 20 people at a former Pharmacia site and provides lead identification services for pharmas that include, according to Kancera CEO Thomas Olin, AstraZeneca and Leo Pharma.

Dr Olin told Outsourcing-pharma that these capabilities, which have been used in 30 R&D projects since iNovacia was established in 2006, are a good fit for Kancera’s plans and the key motivation for the acquisition.

The combination of Kancera’s clinical expertise, cancer models and projects with the iNovacia drug development operations and industrial know-how allow for efficient identification of high quality drug candidates in the cancer field.”

“In particular,” he continued “combining the validated lead series machinery of iNovacia with predictive cancer models utilizing primary human cancer cells and humanized animal models will increase the likelihood of success.”

Olin went on to explain that to accompany the iNovacia acquisition, Kancera is setting up a preclinical cancer laboratory that will provide humanized in vivo modeling for drug development.

This animal model with humanized cellular microenvironment has the potential to provide an increased level of clinical relevance and enable a better prediction of the efficacy of clinical candidates already at a preclinical stage as compared to standard models.”

Strategic alliances

iNovacia also has a number of strategic partnership deals, most notably with Moscow, Russia-based Asinex and New Jersey, US-headquartered Provid Pharmaceuticals, which will be maintained according to Olin.

“iNovacia will continue to build on the established and excellent relationship with Asinex also following Kancera’s acquisition. Provid will remain a strategic partner for collaborative projects in the US. Currently, neither Provid nor Asinex has any ownership in iNovacia or Kancera.”

There are no work force reductions or immediate expansions planned. iNovacia will continue to support current and future external customers and in addition to this also provide resources to the Kancera research programs. Cash-flow from the CRO business will be used to further develop the drug discovery capabilities of the company.”

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